How do manipulators, users and energy vampires get us to do things we don’t want to do? How do they make us say YES to their request when we would rather be doing something different?
We lack clarity and conviction. We are so eager to please that we put others’ priorities before our own. While it makes us kind and empathetic, it also leaves us vulnerable to manipulation.
Back in the day, when I had a house phone and landline, I would receive calls from charity organizations to make a donation. These callers were convincing and sometimes quite aggressive. I was the perfect victim for these calls because I thought I would look bad or feel bad for not donating.
I did not know how to say NO to this kind of manipulation.
One day I received an email that listed the best and worst charities based on the percentage of your donation that actually went to the audience in need. I went back to my records and was dismayed to see that I had donated to some of the worst charities, and they also happened to be the most aggressive callers.
I realized, in that moment, that I had been manipulated and needed to change my behavior.
So, what is the antidote? How can we shield ourselves from being used and prevent the guilt and regret that comes after the fact?
The answer is in knowing what our personal values, goals, and priorities are, then standing up for those positions.
It is important to identify what is important to us. We must define this ahead of time so when we are approached with a request, we already have our answer in mind.
Example: I feel very strongly about supporting breast cancer research. I also believe that at least 80% of my donation should go to the research or research participants, not to advertising, administrative, or other costs.
When I am asked to donate to a charity, they must meet my criteria. If they do not, my answer is, “NO, I have already donated to my chosen charities.”
I have zero guilt or regret for my decision because it is based on my values and priorities.
Example: I am protective of the time I spend with my family. We have committed to Sacred Sunday. Each Sunday is spent doing activities as a family.
When I am asked to volunteer for activities on a Sunday, I already know I am committed to family time. The answer is, “No, I am already committed.”
We must determine what is important to US. And we must stand up for our values, priorities, and goals. This is our shield against manipulators, users and energy vampires.
What is important to you? What do you stand for?